Now that the playoffs are right around the corner, it seems like it’s the right time to talk about the NBA title favorites for 2022. The East and West could not be any more different this year, and with only three games to go the playoff picture is starting to finally materialize.
It’s time to finally separate the NBA title contenders from the pretenders and make some way too early predictions as to who will be triumphantly holding the Larry O’Brien trophy this coming June.
NBA title favorites 2022
If we are to consult ESPN’s recent NBA power rankings in 2022, the storyline in the Western Conference seems pretty straightforward. The Suns and Grizzlies have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the herd and rightfully so. The picture in the Eastern Conference however is not so clear even with just three games to go.
Let’s take a look at the NBA title favorites in 2022 and make some not so bold NBA finals predictions.
The blazing Suns
Let’s start with the obvious. The Phoenix Suns have the best NBA championship odds no matter which betting platform you choose to consult.
Truth is, the Suns are NBA title favorites in 2022, and you don’t need any bookie to tell you that.
Last year’s Finals left a mark on Phoenix in general and Chris Paul in particular. The point God is not getting any younger, and everyone in Phoenix recognizes that their window is now.
They are top three overall in offensive and defensive rating and Devin Booker has inserted himself into the MVP conversation as of late. CP3 is back from injury just in time, and they are firing on all cylinders and are ready to take the fight to any team standing in their way.
The question is who will that team be in the Western Conference?
Grind vs Splash
The Grizzlies have recently separated themselves from the Warriors and are currently the 2nd seed in the West almost six games ahead of Golden State. Both teams are without their superstar, but the Warriors have more to worry about.
Memphis has proven that even without Ja Morant, they can still win games. They are 20-2 without him this season and it has been confirmed that the All-Star starter will be available for the playoffs.
Things are a bit more complicated for the Warriors.
Steph Curry is still recovering and there is no clear timeline for his return. Draymond Green has also been struggling coming back from injury, and Klay Thompson is not showing signs of being the two-way player he was before the torn ACL.
The Warriors are still dangerous when and if they are healthy, but the way things are looking at the moment, Memphis can match up better against Phoenix and maybe give them a run for their money.
Western Conference Finals prediction: Suns beat Grizzlies in 6.
The Beast in the East
The Bucks are definitely the team to beat in the East, even though the standings can still be shuffled before the playoffs. The defending champs do not get enough credit despite their chip, and that’s just the way they like it.
Unlike the Suns though, they could potentially face tougher adversity on their way to the Finals. There are a couple of teams that are defensively equipped to upset Milwaukee.
Heat vs Cs
The Miami Heat are currently two games ahead of Boston for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have developed defensive identity and can attempt to shut down Giannis Antetokounmpo with their defense.
The Heat held the Greek Freak to 15 points twice this season and have a bone to pick with the Bucks following last year’s first round sweep. They have also picked up their game as of late and have a legitimate chance at the title should they beat the Nets in the first round.
On the other hand, losing Robert Williams III for six to eight weeks is a major blow to the Celtics. The time lord is a defensive cornerstone and a big reason why they’re first in defensive rating. This will hurt the Celtics’ NBA championship odds, but don’t forget they still have Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.
Both the Cs and the Heat are equipped to upset Milwaukee and win the conference, but it’s the Heat that have a slight advantage.
Eastern Conference Finals prediction: Bucks beat Heat in 7.
The dark horses
Anything can happen in the playoffs, and there are a couple of other teams that could challenge the status quo in both conferences. Keep an eye out for the Mavericks in the West, and of course the Nets and the Sixers in the East.
The Nets are actually third as NBA title favorites in 2022 so they aren’t really dark horses, but with their defense, it’s tough picturing them winning four series in a row without Kevin Durant going off every single game.
The story is similar for the Sixers. If James Harden can’t find his form, they don’t have much of a chance to make it out of the East.
When all is said and done, It looks like we’re headed to a repeat of last year’s Finals. The Bucks are playing solid basketball, but they haven’t improved much from last year, while the Suns have taken a major step in the right direction and are true NBA title contenders.
This could finally be Chris Paul’s year.
NBA Finals Prediction: Suns beat Bucks in 7.
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